FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DuraLube/Kmart 300 Qualifying, September 18, 1999 New Hampshire International Speedway DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Qualified 2nd) -- "I don't think it'll hold up...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DuraLube/Kmart 300 Qualifying, September 18, 1999 New Hampshire International Speedway
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Qualified 2nd) -- "I don't think it'll hold up for the pole, but it's a pretty good lap. It could have been a little better. I was just a little bit tight coming out of four and got against the wall, probably scrubbed off just a little bit of speed, but it's a pretty good lap. This is a tough place to qualify, one lap, cool tires, but things went pretty good for us."
YOU'VE COME CLOSE TO WINNING HERE A COUPLE OF TIMES. "It's a fun race track. It's a tough race track, again, even to race on but it's a track I enjoy. We seem to have something that works pretty decent here, so I look forward to tomorrow."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus (Qualified 25th) -- "It was good lap, it's just a real unfair race track for draws and we just can't overcome our early draw here. We spent all day Sunday fighting our way from the back of the pack and that's what we'll have to do this Sunday. That's just the way it goes. I thought last time after being up here and having to take a provisional based on struggling with trying to get going for one lap, that maybe we'd get a good draw this time. I couldn't believe it when I saw we drew number nine. If we were faster it wouldn't make a difference, but we're kind of on the bubble there where, if we had a two-tenths faster race car it wouldn't matter as much." JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Qualified 41st) -- "That's just disgusting. We ran better than that in practice and we just can't get the car in the race track. In practice we weren't great, but it wasn't terrible. We made a bunch of one-lap runs and we were like 20th-fastest and backed that up quite a few times. You just go to run and it won't stay on the race track. We're just doing something real wrong. It's real frustrating because just when you think you're starting to learn something, you realize you haven't learned a thing. We'll just come from the back. It's so hard to come from the back here. It's more discouraging...if we'd have run the same speed we ran in practice and qualified 80th, then that's what we'd do, but to slow down four-tenths is just ridiculous."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 35th) -- "Our car was perfect, but we've got some motor problems. We don't know what happened, but it just didn't run at all. We lost 400 or 500 rpm's, but these guys will be able to find it. That's a good motor. We've been running that one for quite a good while and qualifying good with it, but just something might have gotten caught up in the line, maybe some trash in the fuel or something like that. It cost us a real good run. We just want to get in. We don't want to use a provisional because our backs are up against the wall on that."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 28th) -- "A lot of guys are losing a lot today, it's just typical Loudon, New Hampshire. You know when you go out to qualify the track changes and you just can't get any grip, but the Mobil 1 Ford here is still a good race car and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
HOW MUCH DID THE TRACK CHANGE FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING? "It's everybody. The whole garage area has had that trouble. I was a little more conservative than I probably needed to be. I saw Gordon and everybody slide up and I said, 'I don't want to do that,' so that's all we've got."
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Qualified 31st) -- "I'm just all over the place, but that's the way I've been here the whole time trying to make a qualifying run. I can't say that I was tight and I can't say the car was loose, I just didn't go anywhere. That's kind of been the consensus all morning, but I feel like this car will race very well. Goodyear has a little bit different tire here and with only an hour of practice it really doesn't give you much time to sort through stuff. It's just hard on everybody having to do it all at one time with a one-hour practice and then go at it. I see a lot of people are having problems, but it's just part of what you do."
POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 1st) -- "It wasn't a nervous lap. I know when I unloaded, Goodyear has a new tire here, and the car was really loose. I had to make a right-front spring change, a swaybar change, a left-front shock change, some tire pressure changes, which is a lot of stuff for what I normally do. So we just unloaded with the same setup that I qualified on the front row with here last time and it's really the same car. After it got tore up in the race here, we rebuilt it and took it to Richmond last week, qualified third with it. We lost the power-steering, but the car was a good car last week but now it's better this time. The cool temperatures were hard, but I did two simulated qualifying runs. The first one was a 29.32 and the second one was a 29.37, so then I felt comfortable that everything was pretty well planted into the race track and was able to repeat those times. But after I heard everybody saying they were loose and out of control out there, I knew then that what I had to do was just get a lot of heat in the tires -- all I possibly could -- and just run good straight lines. I had to drive aggressively-cautious. I guess that's the right way to put it. I didn't lose the front end and I didn't lose the rear end. In fact, when I ran that lap I said, 'Well, it's probably not in the 30s, it's probably in the low 40s,' but I was surprised when I ran a .33. It was a good clean lap. I can't say I lost the front end or lost the rear end, I think I was hooked up pretty good."
HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT HOW TO RUN HERE? "My qualifying all year long has been really strong. Talk about a flip, I used to qualify not good and run really good in the race and now I'm qualifying really good and struggling in my long runs in the race, so I've gotta get 'em right. I always said I'm gonna put a lot of importance on qualifying and get it right, but now it seems like it's hurtin' my race stuff. This is a key race for me to improve on the last setup. I want to run good here Sunday, I want to win another race -- races."
IS THIS LIKE MARTINSVILLE? "No, no. You can't compare this even close at all to Martinsville. There's nothing about it the same. The reason they say that is because the straightaways are so long and for the length of the straightaways the corners are fairly tight compared to other race tracks we run, so that's the only comparison. But the springs aren't even close and the shocks aren't close."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OUT OF THE RACE? "I expect a lot of the same. I just hope that they've got the proper equipment here to keep the race track cleaned up really good because the problem we had last time was when Schrader blew that motor, they didn't have the equipment to get that oil-dry up. We were all screaming on the radio to clean the track up. We went back green and everybody's sliding around in the oil-dry and I ended up getting myself in a wreck because of it. I came off of turn four, Gordon got on the apron and got up into me and I got the wall and destroyed the car. NASCAR after the race was saying, 'Man, we've gotta get better clean-up equipment here,' so I've gotta believe since the problems we had last time that we'll get that covered. But the way the track is designed, you get a lot, a lot of rubber built up on the surface and it really makes for a tough race during the race. When they first built the place we were tearing the track up. Now, the track is not tearing up, it's just getting a lot of rubber build-up. Mr. Bahre is the greatest at fixing problems and I'm sure if we have another one Sunday, he'll work on it again for next year."
ANYONE IN PARTICULAR TO LOOK AT TOMORROW BESIDES YOURSELF? "Well, you've gotta look at Stewart and you've gotta look at the 43 car -- those guys were really strong last time. And that 99 car of Jeff Burton's is always strong here, so if you take those three guys right there and put 'em up on top and put a bullseye on their head, I think that's who you've gotta shoot for."
YOU HAVE 3 POLES THIS YEAR. DO YOU STILL GET FIRED UP WHEN YOU WIN A POLE? "I'd trade those three poles for three wins, I tell you that. But, yeah, I get fired up because you've gotta admit, everytime we go out practice is a race and then second-round practice is a race and then qualifying is a race and then the big race is on Sunday. That's how big it's gotten, so I've won the first practice and I've won the qualifying, so now I've gotta win the big one. That's the big deal and that's the hardest."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 34th) -- WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "I don't know, I came off of four there and it was just like I hit oil and started out sideways. I tried to get it slowed down there and put it in reverse to back up and get me a good run, and tore reverse out of it. I must have just sheered the pin or something. So we got 'em to pick us up and get us back in there. I'm pretty happy. That oughta get us in the field here and we're ready to run this Jasper Engine Ford all day Sunday."
RANDY LAJOIE --14-- Federated Auto Parts Taurus (Qualified 24th) -- "We're real happy. For a part-time time, Irvan-Simo, they've put together a good race car. We got a motor from Larry Wallace -- Penske Engines. We weren't that good in practice and I can't drive this thing like I can a Busch car. I had to get off the brake and get on the gas a lot quicker and there's a lot left in the seat still, I do believe. I think we're in the show, I think we will be. It's just a good deal for Federated. They've stuck with Irvan-Simo all year and we're trying to put together a deal for next year for these guys. I'm just helping these guys out on one of my Sunday's off."
HUT STRICKLIN --58-- Federated Auto Parts Taurus (Qualified 26th) -- "We ran a little bit better than that and were faster in qualifying than practice. We've been fighting pretty bad loose since we've been here, trying to run our same setup that we had here last time and it's just not working. I don't know if it's the tires or what. We made some pretty major changes just prior to qualifying and it was definitely the right way to go, we just didn't quite go enough. At least we've got a direction now and know which way to go, so, hopefully, we'll make some gains on it for the race."
RICKY RUDD --10-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 33rd) -- "I seem to always fight New Hampshire for some reason. I usually race well, but I can't seem to get qualified, so that's kind of typical right now. Of course, everybody I think ran quicker in practice. We slowed up about three-times. Some didn't slow up much and some slowed up more than three-tenths, but, all in all, the car was a little too tight for qualifying."
ARE YOU STILL TRYING TO WORK SOME BUGS OUT WITH THIS CAR. IT WAS NEW AT DARLINGTON AND IT'S THE THIRD STRAIGHT WEEKEND YOU'RE RUNNING IT? "We're trying to learn it. This is a car I typically would not run on a flat short track and this is something that Fatback (crew chief Michael McSwain) has done really well with in the past. I think the car has a good feel and I think it'll race really good. It just seems to be a little slow getting up to speed, but we need to learn this. We're trying to work through some stuff. I've been trying my short track stuff that I've run over the years and it seemed the only place we run well was at Martinsville and we struggle at the other tracks, so I think this right here will be something that will run better in the race. It kind of looks like the 99 situation. Those guys usually race well and can't qualify good. This is a car that, I think, is built along those lines."
JOHNNY BENSON --26-- Cheerios Taurus (Qualified 21st) -- "I'm not happy. I went into one not as hard as I did in practice knowing that it was gonna slide up and it was still too hard. I slid up and I couldn't get back down. I was still OK, I just couldn't get back down. Three and four were really good, so I made up the rest of my time back there. We're not happy because we ran a .40 in practice, but what can you do?"
KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- TV Guide Taurus (Qualified 4th) -- "I can't say enough for the guys back at the shop. This is the same car we had at Richmond last week and we struggled with it. Pat Tryson had a lot of confidence and I had a lot of confidence in Pat to bring this car back here. I really thought I screwed the lap up. I came to the green and I lost the nose and had to get out of the gas just before I came out of four, but the guys did a great job. This is what we ran in practice. This is the first time since I've been here that I've been able to be this close to the front and it's just been an exciting week for us."
A LITTLE HOME COOKING PROBABLY DIDN'T HURT EITHER, RIGHT? "No, I tell you, we've been up here all week long doing a charity golf tournament -- the Kevin Lepage Charity Golf Outing -- for the Vermont Cancer Society and special education for children. We've been doing a lot of charity functions, a lot of autograph sessions, and what a way to cap off the weekend with a great starting spot for tomorrow."
RICK MAST --98-- Universal Studios Taurus (Qualified 13th) -- "We slowed down just like everybody else. You always do here, especially when it gets a little chilly. This is just like Martinsville, you just can't get hooked up to the race track, that's the way this track is. My car was real good, I was just a little bit too loose in the center of both ends of the race track. I started to change the car right before I went out, started to change the air-pressure to tighten it up a little bit because I figured it would be too loose. Then I said if I can slow down just a little bit, if it is loose, I'll still have a decent lap and that's what we ended up doing. We'll take it and go Sunday."
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU WENT 30 MINUTES LATER? "I think Rusty had the car to beat all day. I'm thrilled to be second. We'd rather actually have been third, but it didn't work out that way."
IS IT BECAUSE YOU'D RATHER BE ON THE INSIDE? "Yeah, the outside is just so very tough here, but, hopefully, my good buddy Ken Schrader will make a little way for me. I'll be over offering him dinner tonight or something."
HOW KEY IS IT TO START UP FRONT? "We talk about that and then Jeff Burton wins from what, 38th, last race so that kind of throws that out the window. If you've got a good race car it doesn't matter, but it is much easier today if you can start up front and run your race and keep that track position. Obviously, we'll have to have a good handling race car to stay up there, but it's much easier starting up there where you don't have to do quite as much battling at the beginning."
HOW ABOUT THIS TIRE, IT'S THE SAME ONE FROM RICHMOND. "We were a little slow with the tire to make to many adjustments and I found the race track to tighten up more with our setup last Saturday night. I didn't realize that it was getting as cool as what it was and the track was tightening up as much, but once I realized that, that we were gonna have to make pretty major adjustments to get the car good, that's whenever we got it much better. We could have worked on it all night and not beat the 20 or the 18 probably, so we got about all out of it that we could."
HOW IS THE RACING SURFACE HERE, SLICK? "It's slick...all kinds of rain here for three days and no rubber on it whatsoever...cool temperatures...radial tires...it makes for a difficult situation, especially when trying to go out there one lap and qualifying. This is always a tough place to qualify, but you know what you've got when you head out there. It's just a little more exciting than other places."
IS THIS A HARD PLACE TO RACE? "It's a difficult race track, it's hard to pass on. Sometimes to make a pass it requires a little bit of a bump or a little moving of someone. Tempers will flare throughout, but even though this is one mile we consider this a short track and you get that on all the short tracks."